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Huntington Beach reaches first CIF girls’ tennis final with win at Pasadena Poly

Huntington Beach reaches first CIF girls’ tennis final with win at Pasadena Poly
Huntington Beach High's Daniella Pokorny, pictured ripping a forehand against Edison on Oct. 16, helped the Oilers clinch their first CIF Southern Section finals appearance with an 11-7 win over Pasadena Poly at Caltech in Pasadena on Wednesday. (Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The Huntington Beach High girls’ tennis team made history on Wednesday.

For the first time in their program’s history, the Oilers will be playing for a CIF Southern Section title.

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The Oilers cruised to an 11-7 win over host Pasadena Poly in a Division 3 semifinal match at Caltech in Pasadena on Wednesday.

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To claim the section crown, coach Suzanne DeVries’ Oilers will have to beat a familiar opponent.

The Division 3 final will be an all-Wave League final. The Oilers (16-6) play rival Laguna Beach (14-10) in the section championship match at the Claremont Club on Friday at 1 p.m. The Breakers advanced by upsetting top-seeded Long Beach Wilson 11-7 in the semifinals at home on Wednesday.

Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach played twice in the inaugural Wave League, which the Breakers won. Laguna Beach won 10-8 at Huntington Beach on Oct. 11, but it lost 11-7 at home to the Oilers on Oct. 22.

Second-place Huntington Beach was the only team to defeat Laguna Beach in league play.

Huntington Beach’s doubles team of Emily Gray and Daniella Pokorny will try to help the Oilers top the Breakers one more time.

The duo, which went into Wednesday with a 9-0 record in the postseason, had to rally in its first set to avoid its first setback. Gray and Pokorny trailed Poly’s No. 1 team of Tara Adarkar and Caitlin Wu 4-1.

Gray and Pokorny eventually forced a tiebreaker, and prevailed 7-4 to complete the comeback. The victory gave the Oilers a 4-2 sets advantage after the first round.

The pair coasted the rest of the way, winning 6-2, 6-0. The final set victory guaranteed the Oilers’ first section finals appearance.

Huntington Beach’s Haley Forth and Maggie Rae Walker won their first set 6-1. Kaitlyn Palacio and Alissa Wong fell 6-1.

Freshman Cindy Huynh continued her strong play. After relinquishing only three games in the quarterfinals against South Pasadena on Monday, Huynh only lost twice over 18 games on Wednesday.

Huynh topped Poly’s Noelle Daves 6-0 in the first set on the back of several aces. She followed that by sweeping Saya Desai in the second set, and pulling away from Elisabeth Bogaard 6-2 in the final set.

Huntington Beach’s Arianne Vethan held on against Desai 6-4, while freshman Solaya Han lost 6-1 to Bogaard. Han won 6-4, 6-0 in the next two sets.

Forth and Walker made quick work in the second set over Poly’s Simone Robinson and Yumi Balthazar 6-0.

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